Microsoft Word automatically underlines or attempts to correct lower-case Christian - regardless of how the word is used. However, it doesn't ever suggest capitalizing atheism. I find myself constantly fighting the capitalization of christian. Is it just my Word? To test this type in: We are a christian nation. We are an atheist nation.
For me - christian automatically corrects itself as Christian.
So - thoughts about this? I don't necessarily want atheism to be automatically capitalized like christianity - or do I?
I don't necessarily want atheism to be automatically capitalized like christianity - or do I?
I sure don't. That would be like capitalizing vegetarian or hedonist. Atheism denotes a common outlook or attitude toward existence. It derives from no one's proper name, nor is it the name of a movement or a group; therefore, used as a common noun, it would never take a cap.
Christian, however, does derive from a proper name--and most of the time it's used as a proper name--in reference to a certain religion; therefore, it's capitalized in most contexts. But not always. Some people consider themselves small-C christians, to mean that they subscribe to a certain broad way of thinking and behaving rather than to a specific religion.
As for Word, as I always advise my students, it's a good idea to turn off auto-correct, which is more irritating (and unreliable) than it is helpful.
Generally, a writer exercises poetic license to create an artistic effect, not to make a philosophical point. In ignoring some convention like capitalization, if the writer's purpose is to underscore some implicit judgment or criticism, the attempt can come off as niggling and contemptuous, which is an impression few writers go out of their way to make, since it tends to obscure (or even sabotage) the message.
there is no person named "Christ" who allegedly lived 1973 years ago, accordingly it is a fictional "title" not a proper name....... thus to capitalize Christian is to capitalize Pinnochioist. It is completely absurd to hand over this elevated status to believers while insulting Atheists as adjectives. We are proper noun American Atheists, Canadian Atheists, Scottish Atheists are Atheists. No less so than Roman Catholics are Catholics. All Atheism is not mere disbelief. IT IS FREEDOM FROM THEISM. To have no theism in one's brain is just as important as to have no psychotropic dope in one's brain. As violent and insane as belief is in human history, it is time to claim rationality as superiourity over faiths. As for pretending Vegetarians or Vegans are somehow in the same category as hedonism, is also insulting. Most Vegans do not wish to inflict pain or death upon fellow mammals and destroy the planet, deforesting the Amazon basin for cheap McDonalds hamburgers. All academia is wrong about Atheism just as Webster was vindictive and fallacious in defining "Atheism: synonomous with Deism." and he who "denys the existence of god." As if an already extant deity is what Atheists turn our faces away from "him?"
Christianity is a proper noun - not just a tower but the Eiffel Tower. Atheism is just a noun, not a proper one. It's counterpoint is the improper noun theist, not the proper noun capitalized names of various religions.
As much as we may not like it (see the discussion of 'god' vs. 'God' in the Atheist Writers group), the word 'Christian', both as an adjective and proper noun, is traditionally capitalised. I personally make a conscious decision not to capitalise 'god', for example, because of the spiritual/cultural arrogance conveyed through the creation of a proper noun out of a common noun. But I do capitalise 'Christian', which, like 'Jewish', 'Muslim', 'Hindu', 'Buddhist', etc., is the proper name (a proper noun) representing a unique entity (adherent of said religion). I would rather not see 'atheism' and 'atheist' become capitalised terms as that would, to my mind, ignore the diversity reflected among atheists. An atheist is not an adherent of a unique entity, a unique philosophy or worldview, but rather is characterised by the absence of one particular thing, that is a belief in a deity.
As far as Word and its automatic 'correction' of things, be it of spelling or grammatical errors, I tend to rely on my own knowledge and, when I am unsure of something, open up a dictionary or other reference, rather than relying on it to correct my work. It is not reliable -- human editing is always recommended.
The God/god discussion actually brought this back to my attention. The easy route would be to turn off the auto-check. I find it annoying... even after adding "christian" to the Word dictionary - I still have to go back and 'correct.' I like the auto-check - but like to have the freedom to NOT capitalize words when I feel so inclined.
For the same reasons you make a conscience effort to not capitalize God/god (which I swing both ways on) - I choose to NOT capitalize christian - perhaps in a poetic-license attempt to lessen its significance? I am okay with not capitalizing atheist - but I choose to capitalize it at times as a means of drawing attention to it.
Then again - I'm someone who often writes I as i... not necessarily to play eecummings, but because of my german background where ich is I... and ALL nouns are capitalized.
I like to play god with the Shift Key now and then.
When you say "I would rather not see 'atheism' and 'atheist' become capitalised terms as that would, to my mind, ignore the diversity reflected among atheists."... could this logic hold true for christianity too if you were to substitute it in for the A words?
I realize - the description of a belief in Something is different than the description of the lack of belief in something...